RuPaul’s Drag Race might include more diverse performers, according to World of Wonder co-founders Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato.
Despite receiving worldwide acclaim, the show has come under fire in recent years for its majority cisgender gay male cast. In a recent interview with Digital Spy, the pair were asked if they have considered including drag kings and trans performers in future iterations of the Emmy-winning series.
“Yeah. Our constant mantra is, “Charisma, Uniqueness, Nerve, and Talent”, and that does not exclude anyone,” responded Bailey. “I mean, obviously we can’t reveal future casts. So until then, all will be revealed.”
Barbato added: “And there’s been trans people on the show. It is “Charisma, Uniqueness, Nerve, and Talent”, so it would not be some headline-making news. For some people it would be, but yeah.”
Back in 2018, RuPaul received criticism following an interview with the Guardian where he said: “Drag loses its sense of danger and its sense of irony once it’s not men doing it, because at its core it’s a social statement and a big f-you to male-dominated culture. So for men to do it, it’s really punk rock, because it’s a real rejection of masculinity.” Though he later apologised for his comments, it further highlighted the show’s lack of diverse casting.
As well as the main RuPaul’s Drag Race competition on VH1 in the United States, the show has fronted iterations in Thailand, the United Kingdom, South America, and Canada, with another installment currently in the works for Australia. Barbato and Bailey previously told Entertainment Weekly that “three or four” more worldwide markets were in the running to receive their own versions of the show.
In the meantime, the inaugural Drag Race Holland kicked off last month, with 10 Dutch queens competing for the crown under head judge, celebrity stylist, and former Holland’s Next Top Model mentor Fred van Leer.